Ghana wants UN to prohibit use of nuclear weapons

Ghana today (October 4, 2016) expressed support for a United Nations General Assembly conference to discuss a universal and legally binding instrument that will prohibit the use of nuclear weapons and their total elimination.

It affirmed that the best way to prevent non-state actors from acquiring and using Weapons of Mass Destruction( WMD) is by eliminating nuclear weapons, destroying chemical weapons and strengthening the prohibition against biological weapons.

The conference will therefore be a step in establishing general prohibitions and obligations, apart from the political commitment to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.

Ambassador Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, Ghana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations stated her country’s position in an addressed at the General Debate on All Disarmament and Related lnternational Security Agenda Items at the UN headquarters in New York. It was attended by high goverment officials and experts on disarmament from the member-states of the world body.While calling for the renewal of international commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ( NPT) since it remains the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime, the Ambassador argued that “It’s universality, legal commitment and safeguards for the development, acquisition, possession and use of nuclear weapons undergird its strength”.

On Conventional Weapons, she said Ghana favoured the inclusion of ammunition in the Programme of Action on Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons and was therefore particularly interested in curbing illicit flow of ammunitions since the real value of small arms and light weapons depended on the availability of ammunition.

Further more, the Ambassador reiterated that the negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-Office Treaty remains critical, in view of its potential benefits to strengthening the non-proliferation regime and reducing the risk of nuclear terrorism. To this end, she pointed out that Ghana wants a universal and effectively verifiable treaty, banning the production of Fissile Material for use in nuclear or other nuclear explosive devices.

“We must review nuclear doctrines and take steps to reduce the risk of intentional or accidental use of nuclear weapons, including through their de-alerting and de-targeting” The Permanent Representative stated adding that “Ghana joins the call for nuclear-weapon states to pursue and conclude a universal unconditional legally binding instrument that provides negative security assurance system to non- nuclear weapons states, pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons”.

The Ambassador reminded the member states that the threat Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) posed to humanity and the environment is of serious concerns to the international community and charged all States to strengthen measures to prevent non-state actors, especially terrorists from acquiring either WMD, the materials or technologies related to their manufacture and their means of delivery.

Considering the role of women in practical disarmament measures, Mrs. Pobee asked for increased technical assistance and capacity building to support the mainstreaming of gender perspectives in disarmarment and arms control.

The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones is an important and concrete contribution to nuclear disarmament , the Ambassador noted and therefore welcomed renewed efforts to seek a common way forward towards the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.